Several Facebook pages and groups have revived photos in 2016 of a tribute performance for a former spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army at the University of the Philippines Diliman to falsely imply the presence of the underground army on campus.
The photos are from a staged performance held for the late Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal in the University Theater in UP Diliman on March 29, 2016. The tribute was held five years after his death because it was only then that his ashes could be brought to his hometown in Batangas.
A full video of the musical shows actors depicting the armed struggle in the countryside using various props, including toy guns.
The tribute was not held in clandestine. The video pans to the audience at the 8:09 mark, showing then UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan and then Vice Chancellor for Research and Development Fidel Nemenzo in attendance. Nemenzo is now chancellor of UP Diliman.
The 2016 performance, dubbed “Ka Roger: A Legacy of the People’s Struggle for a Just and Lasting Peace,” called attention to the resumption of peace talks or negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), a coalition of groups supporting the CPP-NPA’s revolutionary cause. The NPA was created in 1969 as the armed wing of the CPP.
These peace negotiations began in 1987 under the term of former president Corazon Aquino. It aims to have both parties sign an agreement to end their five-decade-old armed conflict and achieve “just and lasting peace.” Part of the negotiations is a set of social and economic reforms forwarded by the NDFP that aim to address “the roots of the conflict.”
President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the negotiations in 2018.
Facebook pages and groups belonging to supporters of presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and presumptive vice president Sara Duterte, as well as police and military, revived the post of Facebook page “Balita” this week with captions falsely accusing UP Diliman students of “training to be rebels” and “rioting on campus.” It was originally posted on Feb. 19, 2021.
The full caption of the post reads:
“REPOST natin kasi binura ni FB ang unang post, ayaw nila ma exposed ang katotohanan! Sabi nila wala daw kababalaghan sa loob ng UP Campus. Eh ano mga to? May full video pa nga nito sa pag performed nila (Let’s repost because FB removed the previous post, they don’t want the truth to be exposed! They say there’s nothing dubious happening inside the UP Campus. Then what’s this? There’s a full video of their performance). #TheTruthMustPrevail #UnmaskingTheLiesOfEnemies #NoToCPPNPANDF #BALITA”
This comes after National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon accused universities, like UP, of “providing the NPA renewed ranks of students vulnerable to recruitment” on May 11 after student leaders declared a walkout to protest the outcome of the May 9 polls.
The UP President’s Advisory Council called these accusations “baseless and paranoid” in a statement on May 13.
More than 400 Facebook pages and groups have shared the post since February 2021, generating more than 100,000 interactions. At least 66 Facebook pages and groups shared the post after May 9 and received more than 3,000 interactions. (CC)